The London Restoration (2020)

About the Book

Book:  The London Restoration

Author: Rachel McMillan

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: August 18, 2020

In post-World War II London, determined to save their marriage and the city they love, two people divided by World War II’s secrets rebuild their lives, their love, and their world.

London, Fall 1945. Architectural historian Diana Somerville’s experience as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park and her knowledge of London’s churches intersect in MI6’s pursuit of a Russian agent named Eternity. Diana wants nothing more than to begin again with her husband Brent after their separation during the war, but her signing of the Official Secrets Act keeps him at a distance.

Brent Somerville, professor of theology at King’s College, hopes aiding his wife with her church consultations will help him better understand why she disappeared when he needed her most. But he must find a way to reconcile his traumatic experiences as a stretcher bearer on the European front with her obvious lies about her wartime activities and whereabouts.

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My Thoughts

The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan is a stunning read. I was immediately hooked by the storyline and felt transported to 1945 London. What a time that must have been — the destruction, the rationing, the rebuilding of lives that had been devastated by WWII. My heart ached for the characters in this book. I found that I related to Brent and Diana’s struggle to find their way back to one another as a married couple after four years of separation. The feelings they experience as they attempt to navigate a “new normal” are relatable and realistic. And, I love that I am leaving this story filled with hope. Life can really do a number on us all. We may feel down and out, but God always makes a way for us in the end. We just have to trust the journey. The London Restoration is a superb story of reconciliation; one that should not be missed.

I am the most impressed by how realistic McMillan portrays the struggles Brent and Diana experience as a married couple who have gone through trauma in the early days of their marriage. When they first are a couple, it seems like nothing can come between them. Their love is so passionate and so big. It’s unfathomable that they would ever feel differently. But then Hitler comes with his bombs and murder and hate, and their lives are irrevocably changed. When the war ends and things go back to normal, Brent and Diana struggle. How does one just go back to normal after experiencing something as awful as Hitler and his war machine? What does normal even mean? Both Brent and Diana have been blown away by the four years they spent desperately and separately trying to survive the war, and are now completely different people than when they first married. Feelings are different. Things are awkward. How do they get back to where they once were as a couple when they don’t even know how to do that as individuals? Is there a way to reconcile their experiences in the war, the traumas they experienced, and still follow the dreams they had for their marriage before the war? To see how Brent and Diana navigate these difficult questions, you will just have to read this beautiful novel. But as a married woman of many, many years, I can say their journey is poignant, relatable, and so very, very true to life. In fact, it is their journey as a married couple in a crazy awful time that filled me with the most hope.

The London Restoration is more than just a good story. It forces the reader to wrestle with things like change — change in feelings, change in time, change in self, change in relationships — and it illustrates that grace and forgiveness and understanding cover a multitude of frustrations and confusions and misunderstandings. It also shows that in the end, it really all does boil down to love — all seven of the Greek forms! The London Restoration is a must-read novel that I highly recommend. If you are a fan of sophisticated historical romances that include a little mystery and intrigue, and timely themes, then this is definitely the book for you!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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